Weakness hides in culture, like the rain hides in the sun. According to the fundamentals of nature, culture and feudal arts go hand in hand, and are not meant to be separated. If one takes comfort in the sunshine alone, he will not be prepared to face the undeniable threat of rain.
Essentially it is about being prepared.
To be healthy without denying sickness and to improve the body without denying the mind; this is a mentality as well as a characteristic of Japanese citizens.
I have acknowledged the fact that the Japanese people are not the kind to pass on an opportunity; they will take that chance and place effort into advancing the self.
The world, becoming more peaceful, further developing and needing less of weapons, begins to demand a method both cultural and martial in which to train not only the body, but the mind as well; hence, what is called "karate."
While being constantly in contact with people, and at every opportunity of discussion, what "karate" involves is something that contributes to the growth of a young man's health and mind.
In March of the 10th year of Taisho, the fact that the Crown Prince, on his visit to Okinawa, specifically requested karate to be demonstrated for his enjoyment, is an (insurmountable honour for the relatively new form of martial art.
Long ago, while General Yashiro of the Japanese Navy docked in Okinawa, he was favourably impressed with karate, and set to study its value as physical exercise; in the first year of Taisho, the first 10 or so privates (seamen) were selected to reside in a nearby school in order to train for karate for approximately one week.
I was joyous to the fact that the Navy would choose karate as a method of exercise for its men, however, I was also disappointed by the fact that this practice was ceased after it was determined that karate excels too much in its form of attack, and those individuals who decide to use it for negative purposes could easily do so.
Funakoshi had dedicated approximately 40 years of his life to study karate, and is one of those honoured at the imperial demonstration; he wished that karate not remain and wilt in Okinawa, but to be spread throughout the world and advanced, so he wrote this book and requested my comments.
The importance lies not only in men, young and old to develop their minds and bodies, but also to the strengthening of their human characteristics.
The developing of the mental aspect of a person should not take preference over the actual training of the martial art.
1 - Educational Material for Citizens
With karate-jutsu at Ryukyu, the Ryukyu Bujutsu Chairman, Funakoshi Gichin, hereby regards the technique in a very familiar manner.
"Eternal peace is only a dream, however a joyful dream it may be. War is a method which God gave humans to organize the world."
Every country, having participated in wars, are now using every human's power, to dedicate themselves to global organization and dedicated to the development of human culture.
Humans will be present eternally and improve themselves without limits.
History, even if grim or dark, becomes the foundation of this development. War, therefore, is still a "stepping stone" of this development. The present can not exist without its past. The development of human beings themselves will begin with the healthy body of its citizens.
The primary aspect of focus of organization after the war is the problem of educating the citizens. How are righteous parents created, and how are virtuous descendants created?
The expression of a martial (or feudal) mentality, the almost stubborn nurturing of the physical body; these are the activation factors of the citizens' education.
According to one John Barrow, "Political education is important, all young men should consider the politician's livelihood as their own," however, this is not enough for the education of the contemporary citizens.
Karate-jutsu is the material for educating the citizens well, as its technical difficulty and constant practice demonstrate. It is easy to perform, deep in variety, nourishes the mental health and strengthens the body; indeed, it is an excellent educational instrument for active citizens.
My regret is it was not started earlier, to these days now. It was not passed on from earlier generations, regretfully. I, Funakoshi, will attempt to spread this "Karate" to the world widely.
It may be documented and supplied as the educational material with which to educate our post-war citizens.
Hopefully, karate will become the norm, and be practiced throughout the world; to improve a nation's health and be used as the material to induce global activation of its citizens.
Karate from a Physical Educational Perspective
Karate, in Okinawa's long history, is one distinct form of a method of exercise. Since past times, karate was used to educate young men as one form of martial art, however, we cannot ignore the physical benefits to be gained from this "empty-hand" method of exercise.
What follows are the essentials of the physical benefits of karate, presented so that this can be used as material for study.
Karate can be considered from 2 perspectives; one, as a martial art, and two, as an athletic, physical method of exercise.
Karate as a Method of Exercise
In karate, there are different kata. When these kata are divided into parts, grouped differently, combined with different exercises, and then practiced everyday to improve technique, this is no doubt, in one aspect, exercise.
These exercises are organized so that "the four limbs and the body is constantly in motion, using a determined amount of strength and speed, and perform some actions which is accurately directed to some direction with appropriate methods."
The physical benefits of karate in the aspect of exercise are as follows:
(A) All sorts of exercises use the mind and body, require
input, and count on excellentagility.
In a purely physical exercise point of view, it increases blood circulation, encourages proper breathing and speeds up metabolism, as well as improving agility and the ability to physically elaborate and nourish one's self.
(B) Karate requires ability of the legs, and in performing exercise, the leg support the body's weight, advances and retreats while doing so; thus, its benefits as an averaged exercise are acknowledged for the legs and body. One is allowed to nourish his sense of height, his sense of muscle utilization, or the strength of the muscles of his back.
(C) When practicing kata in karate, one exercises and the shift of the weight of the body and its parts occur naturally.
Thus, when weight shifting is required, the limits to which one's weight can shift depends on the body itself thus, one part does not have to suffer the burden of the whole body's weight on its own.
Hence, when kata is continually practiced, no one, specific part is emphasized, and the whole body gains the benefits. Karate as an exercise, is exceedingly beneficial physically as shown above, however, between the ages of 10 to 60, only those who are between 15 and 40 should participate in vigorous training.
Most exercises do not demand a considerable amount of mental demand; however, there may be a demand upon the pulse rate and breathing rate of the trainee.
Karate as a Martial Art
Karate defends or prevents an opponent's attacks, then strikes at an opponent's unpreparedness; thus, as a contest involving two persons, technique can often change according to the situation.
in this case, karate is purely an art of combat. Karate's physical benefits in this perspective is as follows:
(A) The body and its parts' movements are fast, accurate
and places demands on the muscles to move.
A considerable amount of exercise is performed in a relatively short period of time.
(B) One can incorporate other methods of exercise such
as advancing, retreating, or jumping into the natural
exercises to perform them together.
(C) It encourages the nourishment of agility, observing
ability, decision - making, calmness, courage and speed.
(D) In general, all muscles will be used, but focus is
placed on the thighs, stomach, shoulders, waist, and
back; and in contest, the demand for mental strength is
high, whereas the effects on the pulse rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate is moderate.
(E) As a martial art, the appropriate age group is from 15 to 40 years of age.
There is no “Striking First” in Karate
Karate, as a martial art, must be understood that it will involve two individuals to cause harm to themselves; thus, a first strike can hardly be justified, and in a sense, is foolish.
Karate demands health; and with health, it is good and it may be evil; used properly, it will protect the body and the weak; but if used improperly, it will go against human order and become evil.
Aggression takes the spot of humanity and justice when they are not present, when karate is used, one may become either an enemy or a hero and in situations where tempers have flared, the tendency is to act before thinking, so one must avoid this tendency to do as such.
It is not just enough to surprise an opponent or be praised by others; like an unproven scholar, a bushi is pitiful until he proves his worth.
One will improve, one will get worse; one will memorize a kata and understand lightly the meaning of it; and learn to use his hands and feet without reluctance.
Unless one keeps his mouth shut as he improves himself, he will have enemies all around himself: penitence and his own humility are the greatest admirable qualities of a karate trainee.
Text : TO TE –JUTSU by Ichin Funakoshi (1920)